Sound Bite That Bit The President

Last week, President Obama was answering questions at a news conference. And one short sentence got him in big trouble in the court of public opinion. 

I wrote about this in a post on LinkedIn just now.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140903040308-6790863-the-big-bad-soundbite-that-bit-the-president

 

Quick Overview of The Crisis Management Advisor on Google Helpouts

This video will briefly explain how The Crisis Management Advisor works.

Here’s the link to The Crisis Management Advisor profile on Google Helpouts.

Get Your Crisis Management Tips in 15 Minutes

A few weeks ago we launched The Crisis Management Advisor on Google Helpouts. That means you can schedule, pay and immediately receive crisis management counsel in a confidential video call.

More recently, we added an introductory version of The Crisis Management Advisor for those who just want some basic crisis management / reputation tips. We call it Crisis Management 101: Quick Tips in 15 minutes. Right now, that costs just $10 – which is cheaper than two grande lattes anywhere in the world.

And, even if you don’t work with us, we highly recommend checking out the many great service providers with many talents who are now on Helpouts.

You can watch this video for more information about the format.

To learn more about Rich Klein Crisis Management, please visit http://www.richkleincrisis.com or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

One (PRISM) News Story, Many Companies in Crisis Mode

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James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence (U.S.)

SEIDENBERG

Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg

News this week about the existence of a secret U.S. government data collection program known as PRISM is a great example of how one investigative news story in just one influential publication can rock a major industry all at once. The revelations forced most of the major Internet players (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo! Apple)  to rush out with media statements and blog posts that suddenly put them on the defensive with millions of their customers about privacy, already a sticky issue for years before we knew about PRISM. They all said basically the same thing: that they didn’t know about PRISM and that customer privacy is very important. Blah, blah, blah. This of course was after the initial story in The Guardian that focused on Verizon’s confidential cooperation with the National Security Agency.

This should be a wakeup call to companies everywhere. What is the major media story in the works about YOUR company and/or industry? If you have no idea, maybe it’s time to think about what could be written/reported about your business that might not be so glowing — that could seriously harm your reputation. Then, get to work on a draft media statement that you can refine slightly if your nightmare becomes reality. In that statement, make sure you use people language, not legalese, if you want it to be taken seriously by the media and the court of public opinion.

Prism

Want to learn more about drafting protective media/social media statements for a possible business crisis? Need comprehensive media training (done in person and via Skype) so you are confident in facing the media? Need a crisis management/crisis communications plan that can be smoothly executed when a serious crisis hits your organization?

Email rich@richkleincrisis.com, call Rich Klein at (347) 926-3530 and also check out past episodes of The Crisis Show.

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Rutgers, Barchi & What Organizations Can Learn About The Crisis Domino Effect

“Division I athletics are probably the best marketing tool we have in terms of getting the Rutgers’ name out there,” he said. “If they don’t know the name and they haven’t seen the brand, they’re not going to even look at you.” — Robert L. Barchi, Rutgers president, September 4, 2012 in Star-Ledger interview.

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Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi

A story in The New York Times today about Rutgers is a great example of how a crisis in one part of your organization can result in the media covering (or uncovering) bigger problems inside your administration. And that unplanned media attention can severely harm the entire reputation of an institution. I’ve always advised my clients to beware the smoldering fire, that slow-brewing crisis that suddenly envelops your administration (or your business) and brings greater harm to your institutional reputation.

I’ll now call this the Crisis Domino Effect or CDE.  The CDE is akin to that stuffy nose that leads to a cold that leads to a flu that won’t go away for weeks or months. And just like you try to throw everything at the cold (vitamins, OJ, medicines), you may try multiple tactics to rid your campus or business of the unwelcome media barrage – plus the social media inferno that either follows traditional media or motivates reporters to write stories.

You may “decline comment” or even curse at a reporter or editor for writing that story. You may try to put out a wishy washy statement that gets you in even MORE hot water with your critical audiences. Or, you may sincerely try to get the messaging just right, but you fail to convey or attach any human emotion to the spiraling crisis.

Let’s face it. If I’m a parent who a month ago was thinking about sending my child to Rutgers, it’s likely I’m going to revisit that decision in light of the gross mishandling of the belated firing of Mike Rice, the former men’s basketball coach. (As one of my guests on The Crisis Show pointed out this week, if that was his kid getting abused by a coach, he’d be driving to the school to confront that coach personally.)

It’s safe to assume that same parent considering sending their child to Rutgers has heard about the coaching fiasco. Combine that with today’s article –which focuses on numerous other criticisms of President Robert L. Barchi — and good chance I’m crossing Rutgers off the list. That’s why Barchi and Rutgers now have a full blown crisis and are scrambling to stop the bleeding. And as long as Tim Pernetti, the embattled athletic director remains, the loss of reputation won’t stop soon.

The Rutgers lesson is one I’ve seen so many times. A company, campus or other organization thinks it has an isolated HR problem, when in fact it’s much bigger than that. And, as Rutgers is experiencing, by “investigating” instead of “terminating” Rice last year, it now has a much more costly crisis in terms of litigation as well as lost revenue from those parents of prospective students who have now crossed Rutgers off their lists.

It’s also important to note that while this (thankfully) is not as serious as the Sandusky-Paterno-Penn State scandal, the story is similar in that horrible behavior emanating from the athletics department was ignored by college officials for years. Penn State has paid $208,000 per month to a big public relations firm since April 2012 for an engagement that was scheduled to end this month.

When you add up the costs of litigation, lost revenue and the cost to rebuild reputation, it’s clear that eliminating HR problems with decisive, early actions save reputations later –and monies can be spent more intelligently where all students benefit most. What do you think? Please comment below.

LawFirmsPR Now Known As Rich Klein Crisis Management

Effective February 9, 2013, LawFirmsPR changed its name to Rich Klein Crisis Management to more accurately reflect the majority of the work we now perform for a wide variety of clients. It also syncs nicely with The Crisis Show, a project that we launched in June 2012 to educate leaders about all aspects of crisis management.

Rich Klein has specialized in law firm public relations and law firm crisis communications since the early 1990’s. In recent years, more and more non-law firms sought his counsel for crisis management and online reputation issues, which prompted this name change.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our work thus far and especially to those friends and colleagues who visit this blog.

Although we changed our name, we remain committed to providing valuable content here and on many other social media channels.

For more information:
http://www.RichKleinCrisis.com
rich@RichKleinCrisis.com
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Tel: (347) 926-3530

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Citi CEO Corbat Correct About Risk Management – But Don’t Forget Crisis Management

Mike Corbat, new CEO of Citi

With news that caught so many by surprise, Citi’s Vikram Pandit abruptly stepped down today as Chief Executive Officer. It left many wondering why and why now. Health problems? Major lawsuit or scandal coming? Revenues short? (Update: Good analysis here about “why now” came after my post)

The memo he issued and the stories now appearing certainly opens Citi up to so many questions about why Pandit left.

But the memo issued by incoming CEO Mike Corbat hints at some possible reasons:

“To thrive, we must be vigilant about how we allocate our resources to ensure we are serving our clients and offering the products with the highest potential in the most productive markets. At the same time, we must deliver sustained profitability, improved operating efficiency and shareholder returns while ensuring that vigorous risk management and mitigation are always the cornerstone of how Citi operates.”

Financial institutions are notoriously weak when it comes to communicating with stakeholders.

But I’m glad that Corbat inserted the section about “vigorous risk management” because too many executives don’t place enough priority on this part of their business. Of course, right now it’s just words and we’ll have to see if there are real actions that back up this well-written memo.

Some executives work hard at risk management but fail to communicate effectively when facing a crisis or serious challenge to their company’s reputation.

Others don’t pay enough attention to risks — like slow moving internal crises that might later result in lost business and customers.

That’s why it’s critical for a CEO and his/her management team to combine risk management  WITH effective crisis management at all levels of the company.  It means, for example, having a crisis communications plan that is easily executed and that takes into account a wide variety of scenarios – including the sudden departure of a CEO.

Executives surely need to be vigorous with risk management. But risk management alone, without matching those risks with effective crisis communications, is a big risk to any corporate reputation.

To learn more about crisis management and crisis communications, watch The Crisis Show on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. EDT.

Quick Crisis Management Tips from The Crisis Show Hosts

As the founder of The Crisis Show on YouTube & Google Hangouts, I know people don’t always have the luxury of watching all our episodes each week. So, for those who have been too busy to tune in or for those who are curious about the content of the show, here’s 2.5 minutes of crisis management tips pulled from a few episodes.

Romney, NAACP Boos & Leadership Communications

How should leaders communicate effectively when facing negative reaction?

Earlier today, Mitt Romney told the NAACP that he was going to eliminate Obamacare, for which he was booed by some in the audience. The Republican candidate for President of the United States paused, then cited a survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that said 3/4 of businesses were not going to hire people under the new health care law. It was not a bad response/pivot to the boos — but Romney failed to acknowledge his detractors and made it impersonal when it was a golden opportunity to  make it more personal.  And that’s been a big problem for most of his campaign.

His opponent, President Obama, probably would have said something like, “Now, folks, I hear you and can understand your concern. So let me explain further.” I’ve seen him do that often and it works well.

A critical part of leadership is truly listening to concerns and showing empathy. It’s why some leaders shine in a crisis and others falter.

What do you think of Romney’s response and what does it say about him as a communicator?

Here’s a link to the video.  The remarks about healthcare come at the 11:25 mark of the video.